Who passed intel on Zawahiri’s whereabouts to CIA?


While leaders of Taliban and Haqqani Network are already looking for the “mole” which had passed accurate information about the location of Al Qaeda top dog Ayman Al Zawahiri in Kabul, Afghanistan, although a section of international media has been saying the information came from an American contact in Afghanistan, neither Taliban leaders nor Haqqani’s are believing this, as it Zawahiri was living in the luxurious compound owned by Sirajuddin Haqqani in extreme secrecy. This was even beyond the knowledge of most of the Taliban and Haqqani Network leaders. Only 2-3 people, including Sirajuddin Haqqani were aware of this matter, while the residents of the house were just known as “guests of Sirahuddin Haqqani”. Not a word more! Food and groceries, including required medicines were supplied to the house just by one man – a long-time confidante of Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is deaf and dumb and loyal to Sirajuddin beyond doubt. So, there is no room to speculate about Zawahiri information been passed on to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) either by Taliban or Haqqani men.

Traditionally, by Pashtunwali, the Pashtun honor code, the killing of an honored guest like Ayman Al Zawahiri, cannot go unavenged. Sirajuddin Haqqani will certainly look for the “mole” and take revenge of the killing of his “honored guest”.

While mourning the death of Ayman Al Zawahiri, Taliban leaders particularly Sirajuddin Haqqani will made full efforts in finding the “mole” which has leaked the Zawahiri information to Americans. It may be mentioned here that, with formidable expertise in monitoring activities of jihadist operatives and networks, Pakistani spy agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) has been intercepting phone calls of a large number of targeted Taliban and Haqqani Network. It also has the capability of keeping these elements under closer watch. As we know, Pakistan had sheltered Al Qaeda kingpin Osama Bin Laden in a military area in Abbottabad, which was within the knowledge of just a hand-picked number of officials. Even Pakistani Prime Minister or any of the top leaders were not aware of this fact. But ISI took years before it had disclosed the information to its counterpart – the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which had resulted in termination of Bin Laden. Now again, Pakistan is in dire crisis as it badly need IMF bailout support to avoid default. In this case, a defaulted Pakistan would be a huge headache not only to the ruling elites, but also to the Pakistani military establishment and ISI.

The Pakistani establishment is going an extra mile to curry favor with the Americans given their need for financial support to fix the economic meltdown left behind by former prime minister Imran Khan.

Zawahiri’s killing comes at a delicate point for Pakistan. Apart from its disastrous economic situation, the Afghan Taliban brokered talks with the TTP have ended in a stalemate, creating a dangerous security situation internally in Pakistan. With several homegrown anti-India, Islamic extremist terror groups resident in the country, the secular Pakistani army now finds itself surrounded by enemies inside and out.

Despite Indian security agencies having a “told you so” moment, both countries are now increasingly worried about the deteriorating security situation in Pakistan, which will spill over into India as well. Rumors about the Pakistani civilian government’s assistance in the killing of a devout mujahid and idealogue like Zawahiri will worsen the situation in Pakistan. Blinken’s statement has been rather vague about the allies who assisted, leaving ample room to point fingers at the Shahbaz Sharif government.

Analysts said, if miraculously Pakistan’s involvement were to be cleared, the other option is to blame Yakoob and the Loy Kandahar faction of the Taliban. This would almost certainly lead to a civil war in Afghanistan, which will plummet the country to disastrous lows never seen before. Though tough to believe, Zawahiri could have been a gift from Russian intelligence to the Americans as the Blinken-Lavrov call may have opened channels of communication and cooperation and this would be considered a goodwill gesture.

Analysts further said, Zawahiri’s death will cause an upheaval in Al Qaeda with a new leadership being installed and this will have definite repercussions. A weak and fractious White House with a clear lack of direction and courage of conviction with an aging confused president at the helm is the world’s nightmare in such dangerous times. Instead of celebrating the closure of the 9/11 trauma and chapter, with the killing of Ayman Zawahiri, Biden opens the Pandora’s box which was better left shut.

Now the big question is – who leaked the information about Ayman Al Zawahiri being living in Kabul in Afghanistan? Was it the Taliban? The answer is negative. Was is Sirajuddin Haqqani himself or any of his confidantes? The answer again is negative. Then the only answer to this question would be Pakistani spy agency ISI, which had leaked this information to Americans with the hope of getting Biden administration’s favor in getting IMF bailout fund cleared. Yes, it was Pakistani ISI that had leaked the information to CIA.


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